Last week marked a momentous occasion for our little sari blanket business! I created & posted an internship position for our business. All spring and summer, I’ve felt this same feeling pressed upon me: You need help. Expand the tribe. Get others involved. Supplement your weaknesses. Don’t try to do it all on your own.
Finally, I was ready for more people around here, I was ready to let go of some things, I was ready to take charge as a leader that can fearlessly captain this ship!
So, I posted it on my personal facebook page, as a start. Then I received a text message from my friend who owns a flower shop:
Huh. Yes. *Excellent* questions. I’m thinking perhaps I should have asked these questionsbefore posting it. Who’s in charge around here, anyways? Doesn’t anyone know what they’re doing?! [because other similar businesses in the USA run robust unpaid internship programs, I had not considered local, Canadian rules]
A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Yellow Conference, which was a group of 300 women “creatives” (bloggers, photographers, graphic designers, interior designers, etc.) working with a greater purpose. It sounds kind of pretentious, but maybe that’s what I am because it was a whole room of other women just like me!
Anyhow, one of the workshop leaders, Becky Simpson, said something that really resounded with me. She said that at points well along in her self-employment, she still felt like an impostor. “I was too far in to admit: I didn’t know what I was doing!” At least, she felt like she was too far in. Shame & embarrassment ruled; “how can I ask for help now?” she worried.
Hearing that was a huge relief to me. Other people also don't know what they're doing? Fortunately, shame & embarrassment don't get too much in my way. Pride, though... I can be too proud to ask for help or to admit need or failure. But, Becky's admission emboldened me; I was ready! The great irony is that when I finally embraced it and stepped out to ask for help, it completely revealed how much I don’t know!
When I started out, I knew very little about saris, blankets, kantha, importing, business... I’ve learned heaps since starting dignify and have a lot of wisdom to share, but I have NOT got it all figured out, friends. I often still feel like “I don’t know what I’m doing.”
Whether an entrepreneur, a shopper, a mom, a manager… don’t we all feel like this? Or is it just me?
Somehow, impossibly, I travelled around the world one year ago!
I am deeply grateful to have taken a trip to Bangladesh when I did. I was at a stage of my life & business when the adrenaline had long worn off, and I was a getting a bit stuck in a cultural mindset trap: "I don't feel like doing this every day."
More details on that, I'll save for another day (or perhaps for a more intimate conversation!). But, let it suffice to say that my colleagues in Bangladesh do NOT operate from that mindset... it doesn't even factor into the conversation.
Being reminded of this, as well as seeing — in person — the inner workings and impact of the blanket biz on the production side... well, it was deeply regenerative for me.
If I had not visited in January 2020, I don't know when that trip would have taken place! Soooo thankful.
Here is one story of a woman artisan I met: Poli.
This season for dignify has challenged us with waiting. Blankets have been leaving our hands at the fastest pace ever (yay!) and we are trying to simply keep up. Add extra inconveniences & delays (from COVID, from customs checks, and more), and we have been really exercising our muscles in patience, trust, and gratitude.
Culturally, we are in a stage of waiting, as well. Waiting for vaccine rollout. Waiting for "normal" opportunities to return, for "normal" life to resume in our cities, our nations.